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CHR: 2 UN Special Rapporteurs set to visit Philippines

Two United Nations Special Rapporteurs are expected to visit the Philippines, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) said on Wednesday.

The CHR said United Nations Special Rapporteur on the sale and sexual exploitation of children, including child prostitution, child pornography, and other child sexual abuse material, Mama Fatima Singhateh, would be visiting the country from November 28 to December 2.

She will be assessing the situation and the progress made in combating and preventing the sale and sexual exploitation of children in connection to international human rights norms and standards, the CHR said.

Meanwhile, Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression and opinion Irene Khan is also scheduled to visit the Philippines in 2023. Details on her upcoming visit will be available in the coming months, according to the CHR.

Amid these scheduled visits, the CHR underscored the important contribution of Special Rapporteurs in the international human rights protection mechanism.

"As independent experts, they are expected and have been proven to act with probity and constant regard to human rights principles and standards. Their standing at the international level gives them the capacity to look at country situations with a fresh and unprejudiced eye," the CHR said.

"As such, their findings, conclusions, and recommendations offer competent, objective, constructive, and specific advice to government actors on how to implement voluntarily undertaken human rights obligations, as well as emerging norms for the universal respect of all human rights," it added.

During the visits, the Special Rapporteurs will meet with national and local authorities, including the national government and members of the judiciary, as well as other stakeholders, including civil society organizations and victims of human rights violations.

"These visits result in the publication of findings, conclusions, and recommendations which aim to improve the realization of human rights on the ground," the CHR said.

The CHR committed to actively take part in and contribute inputs to the Special Rapporteurs, based on information collected from the body's regional presences and the protection and policy clusters at the CHR headquarters.

It also urged the national government "to recognize the competence of special procedures mandate-holders by issuing a standing invitation to them to visit the country and conduct independent assessments of the human rights situation on the ground." — Anna Felicia Bajo/RSJ, GMA Integrated News